Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pygmalion and Galatea

TOM - Wow, so it's been a super long time since I've posted here! Although I might not always get around to posting on this blog, I am always making new work and posting almost daily on my Facebook Page, my Twitter page, and you can also check me out on Instagram now too at: thomaspitilli

Before the year closes out, I would like to add a new personal piece I made. It's an illustration I made based on the tale of  Pygmalion and Galatea. As the tale goes, Pygmalion falls deeply in love with the sculpture he created, wishing that he could find a wife as beautiful as she. The goddess Venus then grants him this wish by bringing the sculpture to life. The first time I became familiar with this tale was when I saw a painting inspired by it at the Metropolitan Museum of Art years ago (see below). Ever since, it has been my favorite painting in the museum. Many artists have tackled this particular story over the years, Jean-Leon Gerome's is by far my favorite. This is my inspired interpretation of the tale, hope you enjoy. Also, look out for prints of this piece in the near future! Thanks so much for checking in and Happy Holiday's! 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Brouwerij West "Mor Mor" Beer Label

JAMES - My latest beer label for Brouwerij West is for their "Mor Mor" variety, which is a Quad brew. I couldn't be more proud of all my work with Brouwrij West, and this one in particular - they do things the right way, with so much care and expertise put into every batch. These bottles are now available at Whole Foods and fine shops all over the Southern California area, and I hear they may be coming to Chicago and the East Coast very soon (fingers crossed!).

So I wanted to show a quick peek into my process for the artwork, since it's utilizing some new techniques I've been working on - namely, building little paper models, lighting them and photographing them, then illustrating into them. 

First, here's the sketch I started with, as usual.

Then it was time to cut a bunch of itty-bitty pieces of paper for all those blade of grass. I don't have any photos of this part, but trust me, it was messy and it took forever. Once I composed the scene the way I wanted, and added some drawn texture to some of the grass blades, I set up some lights to capture the right mood, and began to photograph. 

Once in the computer, I started to draw all the 'illustrative' elements - the silhouette figure, the treasure chest, the lettering, etc. Here's a little screen shot of some of that work in progress:

I'm very happy with the final image - and the printing on the labels is incredibly done. It's a pretty cool looking bottle, if I do say so myself. Same as before, they are a limited edition, and each one is numbered - so get one while you can before they're all gone for good!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Eat your fruits and veggies!

TOM- Been a LONG time! Sorry I've neglected the blog. I've been busy and been making a ton of new work! I tend to post more frequently to my Facebook and Twitter pages, so be sure to follow me there for all the most up to date work. In the meantime, here's a brand new piece inspired by summer, nature, and my love for fruits and vegetables, oh and pretty girls! Hope you're enjoying your summer!

Monday, May 14, 2012


 TOM - Been a while since my last post! Sorry 'bout that, but it has been busy and eventful, and here is a look at some of the things I have worked on since. Three different covers I illustrated, one for Fort Worth Weekly and two for The Washington Post Express. These were all super fun to work on, hope you dig 'em. Thanks for checking in!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Denver Kids - "Dream Big"

JAMES - I'm very happy to announce this new print I made to benefit Denver Kids, Inc. It's called "Dream Big" and all proceeds will go to the Denver Kids organization, which is a really special group of people doing some wonderful things for at-risk youth in the Denver public school system. There's a video below with more info.

Brian Saunders is one of those great people involved with Denver Kids - he contacted me awhile back to see how we could combine some screen printed artwork with the marathon he will be running on May 20th. Well, here is the result - a 6-color, hand printed, 18" x 24" poster, signed & numbered.  

You can get one by donating $30 or more to Brian's Marathon Campaign here: https://www.givingfirst.org/dreambig

Monday, April 9, 2012

Fastway "Eat Dog, Eat" Album Cover

Front Cover
JAMES - Oh man, I've been waiting to show this one off for quite awhile. Back in November 2010 I was contacted by none other than Fast Eddie Clarke, original guitarist of Motörhead and Fastway, and producer Toby Jepson to make some art for the first new Fastway album since 1990. The original Fastway album (1983) was a mainstay in my tapedeck back in the day, not to mention my Motörhead LP's, so this was pretty awesome to hear from these dudes, to say the least. 
Back Cover
We had some really fruitful beginning conversations about the album itself, the music they were writing for it, what kind of tone they were setting and how it would pertain to the artwork. Hard to find people so open to collaboration, and after those opening pow-wows, I headed to my drawing desk truly inspired to do a bunch of sketching and let the ideas flow.

Here is a little rundown of my process for creating the artwork from start to finish:

Starting off with pages and pages of pencil sketches.
Final sketch submitted for the front cover...
...and for the back cover.
Final ink drawings - brush and india ink on clear vellum.
Lots and lots of lettering. Logos done with charcoal; song titles done with  Chinese food take-out chopsticks dipped in black paint.
Close up of song title lettering, carefully drawn with chopsticks and paint.
Using Photoshop to piece it all together, apply color and all final details.
The final packaging!

The artwork has since been done for probably about a year now, as has the recording - but y'know, getting a record out there takes time. The album was released in their native UK and parts of the EU back in November 2011, and it will be released here in the US tomorrow April 10. 

The reviews have been pretty stellar so far - and I'm pretty stoked about it, it's an absolute gem! Check it out on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, or what have you. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Brouwerij West "Tripel" Beer Label

JAMES - I've recently had the great pleasure of creating some beer label artwork for Brouwerij West (pronounced "brewery" west) out in Southern California. This is the first one, for their "Tripel" beer - so excited to finally show it off.

Brouwerij West is a small brewery run by Brian Mercer, and they specialize in authentic Belgian beer brewing. They have a few varieties available on tap at the best watering holes in Southern Cali, but "Tripel" is the first variety that's available bottled. It's now available on the shelves at Whole Foods and other fine stores out West.

As for the artwork, I wanted to play with the idea of threes, being that it's named "Tripel" - and I've always loved those Russian matryoshka dolls (the ones that open to reveal smaller dolls inside), so I came up with this scene of a face within a face within a face. All black ink work with grey tones and a touch of Aqua in her eyes. I'm pretty psyched with how it came out. The paper that the labels are printed on has a really awesome satin/matte finish, and the bottles themselves are a traditional German style. 

One of the coolest aspects of this and all their upcoming labels is that they are all limited editions. This batch of "Tripel" was bottled and labeled as an edition of 6500 - so when they're gone, they're gone. Then a new label will take it's place. Pretty neat idea. 

I've already finished another label for them for another variety, which should be out soon - as well as some really cool coasters. Stay tuned and I'll post all that art as soon as they're available. In the meantime, grab a few of these bottles while they're still around. It's really good stuff. The official description of the beer says: 

"Our Tripel pours a hazy deep gold with a creamy head. Upfront aromas of fresh plums, orange, white flowers and a hint of hay evolve into aromas of caramel malt and cola as the glass warms. A very balanced flavor profile and a creamy mouthfeel lead into a light malt sweetness with a final transition into a hint of warming alcohol and soft drying bitterness."

Monday, February 27, 2012

Black Star

TOM - Here’s a recent illustration I did of the legendary hip hop group, Black Star. The group consists of  Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey (formally known as Mos Def). I’ve been a fan of both of their individual careers for a while and now that the group is back together, it’s exciting to hear the new music that is coming out.  I tired my best to capture their style, which really sets itself apart from the majority of the current  hip hop aesthetic, and was fun to interpret in an illustration.

Here’s a look at the idea in it’s early sketch phase. I wanted something simple that captured their movement and energy on stage as well  as showcasing their bad ass vintage mics which are super cool! I knew I wanted to do some kind of abstract, colorful background, so that is very roughly indicated here.

After I decided on that sketch, I lightboxed some pencils over it, and inked it up.  Here is the final black and white image.
I had a lot of fun working on this, it’s always enjoyable creating images of people that you are interested in, I feel that connection always makes the image stronger in the end.
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sexy Fruit Prints

TOM- These are some recent linoleum cut prints that I made for an upcoming Slap Dash event, with the theme, Sex Ed. I wanted to make something that was not figurative, but still suggestive enough to work within the theme of the show. I had a lot of fun making these. Above is is the version in which I added a layer of color in Photoshop, below are the straight forward cuts, sans color, and how they will appear in the show.

If you're in Brooklyn on Saturday night, come out and hang! Here's the info:

Slap Dash Sex Ed (Readings, Video, Film, and Art Show)
@LaunchPad  721 Franklin AvenueBrooklyn, NY 11238

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cut It Out!

TOM - I’ve been having fun experimenting with some collage elements in my work recently. I always find it refreshing to introduce a new technique that I don’t know much about in order to breathe new life into the work. Here are a couple examples of some of the work I’ve been cooking up with that approach.  Hope you dig it!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mother Nature's Son

JAMES - Ok, so this is a new print that I'm really excited about, and I thought I'd offer a little look into the process of the creation of it. 

The print is a part of the show "Every Mistake: Art Inspired by Beatles Lyrics" at the new Blank Space Gallery in Milford, CT, which opens this Friday night, January 20. Oh, and the first 40 people to enter the show, and the first 10 people to purchase $100 or more, will get a free print that I made (also Beatles inspired, of course). Details for the show are here: https://www.facebook.com/events/118222494959736/

Now, on to the process. This one is pretty involved, using some new techniques I've been working on, so I'll spare you the boring bits and mostly let the pictures do the talking.

I chose "Mother Nature's Son" since it's one of my very favorite Beatles songs (Paul, baby!) - and sparks such beautiful imagery in my imagination. 

It all starts with a sketch, as always. But instead of this being just a big ole' drawing, it's really gonna wind up being a little world that I create out of construction paper and cardboard and stuff - so the sketch is just a reference for where everything should eventually wind up.

Then I made the model of the little world. It took forever, but lots of fun getting busy with the scissors. I made the model modular, so that each plane could be removed and photographed separately. This helped tremendously later on.

Then it was time to photograph it. I set up some lights, picked a lens, and snapped away.

This is what the final photo looked like in Photoshop.

Next I needed to draw the Mother Nature's Son, and all his little animal friends - as well as the lettering for the lyric quote at the top. Lots of revisions, as you can see.

Once I got all the drawings the way I wanted them, I scanned them into the computer and began to combine them with the photograph. This is a Photoshop screen-shot from when I was putting it together. 

From here I made all the color separations to make a 9-color screen print. Films were made, screens were burned, ink was squeegee'd, and after what seemed like forever, the final screen prints were done. Here are some close-ups of the prints:

It's an 18" x 24" Nine-Color Screen Print, on 100lb White French Paper, a Signed & Numbered Edition of 85. They'll be available for sale at the show exclusively until January 27, in which case any remaining copies will be sold online. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter to keep up on them.

Thanks for reading (and listening, below)!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Four New Posters

JAMES - I'm really excited to show off 4 new posters that are now available on my site. 

The first two posters are for the always awesome Lucero as they did shows for their New Year's Eve Tour and their annual "Lucero Family Christmas" shows. The NYE poster is titled Angel On My Shoulder, Devil Inside My Heart and is a 5-color screen print, including Metallic Silver Ink for the wings, 18" x 24" on 100lb White French Paper, Signed & Numbered Edition of 145 - now available in the store for $20 each.

The "Family Christmas" poster is titled Party At Steve's House! and is a 5-color screen print, 18" x 24" on 100lb Blue French Paper, Signed & Numbered Edition of 75 - now available in the store for $20 each. There are very few of these available.

Next up is a poster for afro-rockers Toubab Krewe for their New Year's Eve Tour, and is titled Decoded. The print is a 4-color screen print, 24" x 18" on 100lb White French Paper, Signed & Numbered Edition of 150 - now available in the store for $20 each.

Finally is my poster for Kevin Devine's Fall Tour in support of his absolutely amazing new album Between the Concrete and the Clouds. I wanted this to be a continuation of the narrative begun in my last poster for Kevin Devine (see it here: http://www.jamesflames.com/pages/STORE-TheresAWorldAwakeOutside.html). This poster is a 7-color screen print, 18" x 24" on 100lb White French Paper, Signed & Numbered Edition of 175 - now available in the store for $20 each. 

Thanks as always for reading, and Happy 2012! Lots of new stuff coming up, especially for [Adult Swim]/Metalocalypse fans, and for all you Beatles fans. Stay tuned...